Big 12: Jim Harbaugh

Video: NFL coaches in mix for Texas job?

December, 15, 2013

Adam Schefter discusses some of the biggest names to surface in Texas' head-coaching search, including NFL coaches Mike Tomlin and Jim Harbaugh.

Should postgame handshakes continue?

October, 17, 2011
A heated verbal and physical exchange from Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz and San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh made headlines after Sunday's NFL action, and brings up an intriguing question: Should coaches be required to shake hands?

Texas coach Mack Brown said he'd like to see the NCAA or the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) look at the issue.

"I’ve been a proponent of not shaking hands after a game for a long time. Some guys don’t like each other," Brown said. "After a game, some guy may have run up a score, some guy gets beat on a last second, no, I have felt a long time, those TV cameras love it because they run right in the face hoping somebody’s going to mess it up."

On Saturday, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin got into a verbal confrontation after Georgia's 33-28 win.

Last week, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel also abbreviated a conversation with Kansas State coach Bill Snyder after a 24-17 Missouri loss, spawning some discussion about whether Pinkel's decorum was questionable.

"I’ve always tried to walk over, say good game, good luck and get out of there as fast as I can because it’s really sensitive," Brown said. "We want great sportsmanship, but I think you’re better off calling on Monday and saying good game than in the heat of the moment because coaches are so competitive. Our jobs are on the line and when you’re standing there and you’re in the position to win the game and lose late, or if somebody scores 80 on you’re not very happy about that and you don’t want to go over and tell him good job."

Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, though, says the custom is necessary, and not just for coaches.

"I think it’s important that the players see it and the fans see it. You’ve coached an emotional game. I think it’s important for players to shake hands, I think it’s important for coaches to shake hands, and it’s really embarrassing to see something like that happen in our sport," Tuberville said. "It shouldn’t happen like that. It’s not called for, because it’s all about sportsmanship and teaching younger kids that see this on TV see it happen. It’s embarrassing in this profession to see something like that happen."

What do you think? Vote in our poll.
For the past year, I've had to listen to our friend Ted Miller over at the Pac-12 blog cry and complain about it over and over again.

"People outside the West Coast don't understand! It makes things a lot harder! And it makes the conference look bad!"

He's talking about the nine-game conference schedule, which has been widely supported by Big 12 administrators and coaches since it was adopted as part of the new 10-team Big 12 setup. While I'd guess a decent percentage of college football fans didn't even know until just recently -- if at all -- the Pac-10 played a nine-game conference schedule, the Big 12 is about to get up close and personal with a round-robin schedule that for most, will mean replacing an FCS team or a small conference team with a Big 12 opponent.

It also means five more sure losses for the Big 12.

[+] EnlargePaul Rhoads
AP Photo/Charlie NeibergallPaul Rhoads' Cyclones are slated to play at least 10 games against BCS teams each season.
On Monday, Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads became, to my knowledge, the first Big 12 coach to question whether or not the change is universally good for the league.

From the Quad-City Times:
"The college game seems to be headed in that direction with more conference competition rather than less," Rhoads said during the Cyclone Tailgate Tour's Quad-Cities stop last week. "If we're going to play nine conference games, which we are, I'd like everybody else to play nine, too.'' ...

This year, Iowa State will play 11 teams from BCS conferences, and its annual date with Big Ten foe Iowa means that from now on, every season will feature at least 10 games against BCS teams.
"I'd prefer that not to be the case every year, but we'll deal with it," said Rhoads..."What I think coaches want is some balance. You don't want to put yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to qualifying for bowls compared to teams from other conferences."

It sounds like complaining, but Rhoads absolutely has a point. And teams that have been right on the bowl bubble in recent years such as like Iowa State and Kansas State will be hurt the most by a nine-game conference schedule. Rhoads may be the first coach to question the practice, but I doubt he'll be the last.

The Pac-12 will keep its nine-game schedule in the new 12-team league, but in an informal poll recently conducted by the Pac-12 blog, the league's coaches voted 6-4 in 2009 to move it back to an eight-game conference schedule. The Pac-10 added a ninth in 2006 when college football added a 12th regular-season game.

Said Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh: "There's a reason no other conference plays nine conference games."

Comments like these could be common in the Big 12 very, very soon. Here's how the Pac-12 standings looked last season:

  • Oregon: 12-1
  • Stanford: 12-1
  • USC: 8-5
  • Washington: 7-6
  • Arizona: 7-6
  • Arizona State: 6-6
  • Oregon State: 5-7
  • Cal: 5-7
  • UCLA: 4-8
  • Washington State: 2-10

By comparison, the Big 12 had four teams with at least 10 wins and another with nine.

Thanks to USC's bowl ban and Arizona State's being ineligible for a bowl game since two of its wins came against FCS opponents, the Pac-10 had just four bowl-eligible teams last season. Think Arizona State, Oregon State, Cal and maybe UCLA would have liked one more big bite of a nonconference cupcake?

Eight Big 12 teams qualified for bowls in 2010, and 11 of 12 teams took the field with five wins and a chance to qualify for the postseason.

Money seems to talk the loudest these days. Is the additional TV revenue that comes with a nine-game conference schedule worth it to fans whose teams may be sitting at home during the postseason? That trade-off may arrive soon, and fans won't have a choice.

"I believed [adding a ninth conference game in 2006] was the right thing to do. It just seemed to be fair to go around and play everybody," said then-Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood. "Now that we've been through it, I'm probably on the other side totally. I'm not sure it's a great idea anymore."

The nine-game schedule has its advantages. Big 12 teams have an additional marquee game to sell fans and TV networks. The round-robin set up does allow the league to crown a true champion at the top.

But what about the teams in the middle?

Inside the league, it's definitely more fair. Nobody gets to avoid Oklahoma, Texas or any of the league's other top teams from year to year like some of the teams in the North did in the past.

For administrators, ironing out three nonconference games is simply easier than four.

But is it worth it?

I suppose we'll find out. Everyone in the Big 12 has been excited about and expressed support for the new schedule.

Here's guessing Rhoads isn't the last coach to publicly question whether or not the new schedule is best for the league.

Mailbag: Test, new QB, coaches, UT slide?

May, 4, 2011
Thanks for the questions, all. Let's get started.

Little Stoops in Tallahassee, Fla asked: With my brother coming into town week 3 of the season. What match up's on myside of the ball should I have an advantage on, even tho OU's Offense looks better than last years?

David Ubben: Well, I don't see too many. And either way, Oklahoma will find a way to exploit the places on offense that it has the advantage.

Spoiler alert: If anyone beats Oklahoma this year, it's going to have to put up a ton of points or hope for turnovers. Landry Jones should be better than ever, and he's throwing to a deep corps of receivers, deeper than he's ever had.

The offensive line wasn't fantastic last year, but the only spot that it really struggled was trying to get pushes up front in short-yardage situations against good defenses. On the whole, it was pretty good, and Stoops raved -- unprompted, mind you -- about their progress this spring.

E.J. Manuel is going to have to have a heck of a game if Florida State is going to avenge last year's embarrassment in Norman.

Greg in Texas asked: Which first year coordinator has the most to prove? Which will be most successful?

DU: Most to prove is an interesting question. I'll go with Bryan Harsin at Texas, just because so many people still hate Boise State and don't buy that what the program has done is authentic. Having one of its coaches go off and be successful out from underneath the shadow of Chris Petersen could go a long way for both Harsin and the Boise State program.

As for most successful? In year one, that looks like it'll probably be Todd Monken by a long ways, mostly because of the talent he's inheriting. Success is different than impact, I suppose. He could have the same success that Dana Holgorsen had last year, but I don't think many would consider it the same kind of "impact." Does that matter? Well, that's up to you.

As for long-term success? I'll go with either Josh Heupel or Manny Diaz. Both are on the fast track to becoming head coaches very soon and both are in positions that should be conducive to big-time success.

Emperor Norton in San Francisco asked: In an interview with San Francisco radio station and Niner flagship, KNBR (THE Sports Leader!), Aldon Smith let slip that Niner Coach Jim Harbaugh gave him a 49 question test on football history. Questions included "How wide is the football field and who is Knute Rockne?" I guess Smith passed but what question(s) would you put on such a test?

DU: Yeah, I don't think that's a big deal. Aldon Smith said the field was 50 yards wide. It's 53 1/3. As long as he can see the white lines and understand that if he has the ball, he can't go outside of them, he'll be fine. Not an issue. He also didn't know who Knute Rockne was. Just guessing: He's not the only guy on his team who couldn't place Rockne.

That test isn't any kind of predictor for on-field success. All it is is a tool for a coach to get to know the kind of player he has, and what he needs to do to coach him. Harbaugh's a smart guy. Players will, more often than not, tell a coach what he wants to hear.

I imagine Harbaugh learned a lot by administering that test. Apparently, so did his players.

Chet Anderson in Ames, Iowa asked: What do you see as the realistic best and worse case scenario coming out of Iowa State's QB competition going into the season?

DU: We've seen Jerome Tiller. He didn't look great last year. He's good enough for them to win some games next year and maybe get to a bowl game, but he's not a game-changer.

Steele Jantz? He's still a bit of a wild-card. Best-case scenario: The receivers look completely different this year, Jantz is able to hit them and use his legs to make plays and Iowa State wins 7-8 games.

Worst-case scenario: Iowa State's quarterback position becomes a revolving door with no real optimism for the future. (See: Kansas, 2010)

Adam Penny in Austin, Texas asked: Did the draft prove that the problem at Texas last year was a simple lack of talent.they did not have any first round picks and Baylor had 2. If you look at the 2005 squad almost the entire team is in the NFL

DU: No, not necessarily. On offense, I agree with you, but Texas had three corners drafted, as well as DE Sam Acho. Next year, there should be more Longhorns defenders in the draft. Aaron Williams was pretty close to a first-rounder, too.

People want to point to recruiting rankings, but folks who watched Texas play last year have to be able to see the discrepancy on the two sides of the ball.

Defensively, Texas is still solid, and should have another good year.

Offensively, though? From quarterbacks to running backs to receivers to offensive line, Texas was definitely in the bottom third of the Big 12 in all three last year. Recruiting stars don't equal yards.

Luke in Corpus Christi, Texas asked: Should any of the teams in the Big 12 be calling former NC State QB Russell Wilson? If so which ones?

DU: I don't see it happening. Unlike what we thought in the preseason with Nebraska last year, there aren't any great Big 12 teams in need of a quarterback. Wilson will want to play for a contender. Additionally, he's a North Carolina native and as far as I can tell, has no ties to Texas or any other Big 12 states.

Did the Pac-12 upstage the Big 12's TV deal?

May, 4, 2011
Later today, the Pac-12 is expected to announce a television deal with Fox and ESPN worth $3 billion over 12 years, an average of $250 million annually.

Last month, Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe was lauded for his role in negotiating a $1.2 billion deal with Fox over 13 years for his league, an average of $90 million annually.

So, what's the deal? Has the Big 12 been swindled yet again by that two-faced, Longhorn-yielding, walking he-devil commish? (For our less loyal Big 12 blog readers, that's a joke.)

Well... no.

But will the Pac-12 one-up the Big 12's recent television deal?

How does "Yes, no and maybe" sound?

Let me explain.

For those unwilling to read past the big numbers, that $3 billion is for first and second-tier rights, shared between Fox and ESPN for every football game and likely every conference basketball game.

Under the Pac-12's new revenue sharing deal (it's equal! Sort of!) every team will receive over $20 million.

(Side note: Spare me the specious argument that equal revenue sharing equals parity. Ohio State has won at least a share of the Big Ten for seven consecutive years, while the SEC trumpeted its five consecutive national titles from four teams. Both share revenue equally. Someone call me when Indiana and Kentucky win a conference championship and I'll recommend the Big 12 kick a few more dollars Iowa State's way.)

For now, yes, it's more money. Soon, that may not be the case.

We live in an era where sports are more popular than ever, and if you haven't noticed while fast forwarding the commercials on your DVR'd sitcoms, is one of the most valuable places for advertisers to make sure you see their products.

Goodbye weeknight primetime, hello Saturday afternoon.

The big payoff for the Big 12 could be years down the road. Among the elite conferences, the Big 12 will get the last crack at big TV money when its first-tier rights are up for renewal in four years. Fox, for the first time in a long time, is planning to air regular season games on its flagship station, rather than Fox Sports. It's also putting games on the cable network FX, which reaches nearly as many homes as ESPN and ESPN2. To me, that expresses a pretty strong intent to get serious as a major player in broadcasting college sports, which is good news for the Big 12's future.

"We have another bite at the apple with our primary rights," Kevin Sweeney, the Big 12's lawyer, told me last month.

Does anyone, between now and then, see the passion for college football being tempered, viewers suddenly being compelled to watch the ads breaking up their favorite shows, and the Big 12 being left hungry?

I don't.

If anything, it could be intensified.

The Big 12 should know better than to take all its games off the ESPN family of networks, and I doubt the league's members would sign off on such a move. Fox's clear intention to ramp up the price of airing college athletics though, whether it ultimately wins the Big 12's first-tier rights or not, should inspire something resembling a bidding war.

The Big 12 previously made $20 million a year on its second-tier rights. It now makes $90 million.

It currently makes $60 million per year on its primary rights, totaling $150 million in television revenue per year in the current contracts, which are staggered and gradually increase pay as the contract ages, keeping pace with inflation.

The Pac-12 will make about $250 million per year with its first and second-tier rights. That's divided between 12 teams.

If the Big 12 sees the same 350 percent spike in its primary rights as it did with its secondary rights, it would have its television revenue totals reach $360 million ($90 million second-tier + $270 million first-tier) per year. That's divided between 10 teams.

Now, I don't think the same sort of spike with the Big 12's premier games will actually happen. Those numbers are a generous extrapolation based on what we've seen so far this spring. Still, my point is this: The Big 12 should likely, at the very least, remain competitive. With traditional powers Oklahoma and Texas, as well as rising programs in Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Texas Tech, there should be some quality football being played in this league. And deals like the Pac-12's could serve as a bargaining chip.

Comparing the two leagues is up for debate. Texas and Oklahoma = Oregon and USC. The rest is essentially a wash that varies from year to year. Jim Harbaugh is gone and Andrew Luck will be after this year. Those stiff academic requirements aren't going anywhere, though. Does anybody want to bet on Stanford becoming a program accustomed to BCS appearances?

So, what about that pesky maybe?

That's where third-tier rights come in to play. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott pooled everyone together and looks bent on creating a Pac-12 Network, reserving the rights necessary to create it with the new television deal.

The Big 12? Frankly, on the third-tier rights front, it's a mess. Texas is rearing to go, with the Longhorn Network charging full steam ahead, prepping a few hoops games, a well-supported baseball team and plenty of coaches shows to fill the 24 hours, among other things. That should be a success, and Texas is already guaranteed $15 million per year from ESPN for 20 years, regardless of how much the network actually makes.

The rest of the Big 12? It has the rights, but distribution channels are still being discussed. A Big 12 Network is still miles away from becoming a reality. The debate over how much money Texas A&M and Oklahoma would get from the deal -- assuming it even happens -- should be an entertaining one and extend discussions. Not to mention finding a distribution partner, which even the Pac-12 hasn't done yet.

But how much money is even left to be made from third-tier rights? For now, it sound like no one other than the Big Ten and Texas has any idea. We won't know for a few years.

My guess is the Pac-12's top programs, with a united, 12-team network that splits revenue equally, won't make as much as their Big 12 counterparts. The programs near the bottom of the Pac-12, I would guess, should make substantially more than their Big 12 counterparts.

So in that sense, how much the Pac-12 makes compared to the Big 12 is all a matter of perspective.

But when it comes to television revenue, is it more?

Yes, no and maybe.

Mailbag: New faces, title teams and top 25

March, 11, 2011
Thanks for all the questions this week. I'll be out covering the Big 12 tournament over the weekend, so if you can't get enough of me, head over to our college basketball page.

Kyler Roach in San Marcos writes: What true freshman that has enrolled early has been the most impressive this spring?

David Ubben: Since there are still only four teams in the league practicing right now, that's a pretty small group, but I'd go with Texas Tech linebacker Blake Dees. He impressed in the first two scrimmages, and in the Red Raiders' third on Thursday, played as the team's No. 1 middle linebacker, just weeks after leaving high school. He jumped ahead of another possible breakout star, Sam Fehoko, but coach Tommy Tuberville said not to make a lot of the move. "They’re about the same," Tuberville told reporters on Thursday. "One day one will look decent, and the next day the other one will do good. Right now, we’re just trying to teach them what to do and not worrying about first, second and third team. We’re just trying to get as many reps as we can and have a little idea after spring practice.”

Dees may not end up as the starter yet, but it's hard to see him not getting any playing time next season. To come in and make such a quick impact is rare. Last year, it was Luke Joeckel at Texas A&M who became the Aggies' starting left tackle as an early enrolling freshman after just 15 spring practices. For now, it looks like Dees, who, by the way, was the No. 61 linebacker in the 2011 class and a three-star recruit.

Paul in Austin writes: Hey David. Love the blog, and I hope that SOMEDAY I'll finally make it onto the mailblog page. I'll definitely save the screenshot if it happens. Anyways, two questions for you: 1) Since Nebraska is gone, who do you get the most mail from? I've noticed lately you've been taking a lot of questions about the Aggies (no complaints here) so I was just curious, and 2) What have you heard about Jerrod Johnson's pro day at A&M? I read the article you put up on the blog,, but other than that I haven't heard much, but only missing out on two completions (one drop) seems good. I mean, you've gotta feel bad for the guy, and I sincerely hope that he is able to at least get a chance at the next level. Thanks, and keep blogging. Love this stuff.

DU: Thanks for the e-mail, Paul. Happy to oblige. You can Command + Shift + 3 your heart out now.

To your question, it's definitely Texas A&M now. Oklahoma and Texas fans are probably second, but the Aggies like to be heard, which explains why you see questions about them so much in the mailbag and in the weekly chats.

As for Johnson, it sounds like he had a nice pro day and his throwing shoulder is continuing to regain its strength. He didn't look much better at the Senior Bowl than when he was benched in midseason, and the issue was never accuracy; it's his velocity on the ball. The difference between his junior year before he got hurt against Texas and his play last year after surgery was vast. Like you said, it's hard not to feel bad for the guy, and if he eventually heals up completely, he'll get a shot somewhere. I don't believe he'll be drafted at this point. Because he has such long arms, he's got a bit of an elongated release that's not as quick as NFL teams would like to see, but he'll definitely get a chance in a camp somewhere, and if he can look like he did in 2009 and convince an NFL team that he can become a contributor, he'll have a career.

That said, even if it doesn't work out, he'll be a fantastic coach, and ultimately, that's what he would like to do anyway. Even if his future isn't on the field, it's bright regardless.

Eric in Dallas asked: which Big XII RB do you think will have the best career at the next level?

DU: Definitely the guy we talked about today on the countdown: Daniel Thomas. You've got to like everything. He's got good vision, good speed, stays healthy, doesn't go down easily, has great vision, hangs on to the ball, produces and since the former QB has still only played the position two years, has a ton of upside. He'll make an NFL team very, very happy.

David in DC asked: During your chats, I've seen a couple of questions about what it would take for A&M to join college football's elites, and what the likelihood is of that happening in the next few years. Given that Stanford moved from perennial bottom feeder to national title contender in just a few years, it seems plausible that a school like A&M could do the same thing.

DU: Well, Stanford is a really bad comparison for a couple reasons. One, Jim Harbaugh was an exceptional coach who deserves a huge amount of the credit for his team's rise. Andrew Luck deserves plenty, too, but that's not the point.

Secondly, Stanford doesn't have the resources or successful history of A&M, which has been mediocre more than it's been truly bad, especially lately.

Lastly, it was really just one season for Stanford. When you talk about national-title contenders, you think of a team that's in the picture every couple years at least, like Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12.

A better comparison to me would be a school like Auburn. A place with plenty of support, money and history, but still one that's not the major program in its state. Auburn made it pretty obvious that it's possible, and the same is true for Texas A&M. It's just about getting the right combination of coach, team and, of course, quarterback in there. Is that happening right now at Texas A&M? I have my doubts, but we'll find out on the field pretty quickly.

Jared in Clinton, Okla., asked: David,I just drove through Stillwater, do I deserve a Big XII South Champions ring? They seem to be giving them out here, even if you didn't win one...

DU: Ouch. Is Jared in Clinton, Okla., an alias for Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson?

Kevin Bright in Oklahoma City asked: David,Loved the Best/Worst Case Scenarios as well as the Re-Caps of those scenarios. Tell me they are coming again this summer. Thanks for giving us football junkies our fix!

DU: Yeah, they definitely will be. That series was way more popular than I'd anticipated it being, so it'll be back again over the summer, before the 2011 season. Now, if only the Big 12 would release the schedules ...

Michael in St. Louis asked: We're up to number eight on your top 25. No sign of Alex Henery. Not even in your honorable mentions. I have my right hand raised, but I'm not sure if it's to give you a high five or the bird. I guess I'll have to wait seven more weekdays to find out...Until next time, keep up the great work...or check yourself. I'm so confused.

DU: This was by far my favorite e-mail of the week. Kudos, Michael. But unfortunately, I didn't put Henery on the list. I wrote why on Wednesday. Here's my take:

"I felt bad leaving Alex Henery off the list, but he's the only special-teamer I really considered. ... there were 25 more guys more valuable. It's always weird, though. We bloggers disagree about the placement of special-teams guys on lists like this. I'm generally against it, just because they're not on the field for enough plays."

So I suppose if you must, I'll step aside and allow you to give me the bird.

Lunch links: Behind the scenes of draft prep

January, 19, 2011
Yo, who's the grillmaster, dog?

Analyzing the coaches' ballots

December, 8, 2010
The coaches' ballots for the ESPN/USA Today top 25 poll are not made public during the season.

At the end of the regular season, the veil comes off. Every now and then, there's an interesting note or two, and this year is no exception.

You can see all the coaches' ballots in this well-done chart.

Note: Plenty of coaches let a graduate assistant handle the duties during the season, but the majority will take over duties at the end of the season for the ballot that becomes public.

The following Big 12 coaches are voters: Art Briles (Baylor), Bo Pelini (Nebraska), Gary Pinkel (Missouri), Mike Sherman (Texas A&M), Paul Rhoads (Iowa State), Tommy Tuberville (Texas Tech)

The coaches poll is factored into the BCS standings, along with the computer rankings and the Harris poll.

A few notes:
  • All but four coaches voted their teams higher than its actual rank, but Bo Pelini ranked Nebraska No. 8, eight spots higher than its actual rank. Robb Akey at Idaho had the Huskers the next-highest, at No. 11. The Huskers beat the Vandals earlier this season.
  • Pinkel ranked Missouri No. 11. The Tigers came in at No. 14 in the final poll.
  • Sherman ranked Texas A&M No. 15. The Aggies came in at No. 17 in the final poll.
  • Pelini and Pinkel were the only voters in the Big 12 whose ballots contained all 25 teams on the final poll.
  • Who had Auburn No. 1? Pelini, Rhoads and Tuberville.
  • Who had Oregon No. 1? Briles, Pinkel and Sherman.

Finally, here's who ranked the Big 12 teams the highest and the lowest.
  • No. 8 Oklahoma: Jim Harbaugh, Stanford (No. 5); Three coaches ranked Oklahoma No. 12. (Steve Fairchild, Colorado State; Al Golden, Temple; Chris Petersen, Boise State)
  • No. 13 Oklahoma State: Two coaches ranked OSU No. 11. (Jim Harbaugh, Stanford; Tom O'Brien, NC State.) Interestingly, no coaches voted OSU at No. 17, but two had it at No. 18. (Mike MacIntyre, San Jose State; Robb Akey, Idaho)
  • No. 14 Missouri: Three coaches had Missouri at No. 11. (Todd Berry, Louisiana-Monroe; Gary Pinkel, Missouri; Ron Zook, Illinois). Greg Schiano at Rutgers had the Tigers the lowest, at No. 17.
  • No. 16 Nebraska: Pelini obviously had the Huskers the highest, at No. 8, and Akey had them at No. 11. New Mexico coach Mike Locksley had the Huskers at No. 21.
  • No. 17 Texas A&M: Brian Kelly at Notre Dame had the Aggies the highest, at No. 11. Five coaches had the Aggies at No. 19.

Lunch links: TV station tours 'The Shed'

December, 30, 2009
Big doings are taking place in a Lubbock courtroom as I write this.

But other news is percolating across the Big 12 today -- like a big football game in San Diego tonight.

Here are some of the stories that people are following across the conference.

Perkins says that Gill was the only person offered the KU job

December, 14, 2009
Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins said Monday that Turner Gill was "one of our top guys" for the vacant position, but said that his new coach was the only person who was actually offered the Jayhawks' head coaching job.

Perkins declined to discuss whether Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh had been offered the job created when Mark Mangino resigned earlier this month.

"I would prefer not to talk about other people from a confidential standpoint," Perkins said. "Obvious the Harbaugh thing was out there. I don’t know where it came from. There was only one person I offered the job and that was Turner. There's no question about that. I didn't offer it to anybody else.

"All the candidates we talked to were superb candidates and great people. We wouldn’t have talked to them if we didn't think they were the right kind of candidates. But at the end of day Turner was right person for our job."

Anti-Gill Web site pops up

December, 14, 2009
Some football fans go to unbelievable lengths to show their lack of knowledge.

Take the Web site that has already popped up, even before the new Kansas coach has been formally introduced in his new job.

The site blasts Kansas athletic director Lew Perkins for not making a national hire when he replaced Mark Mangino, instead settling for a lesser and cheaper choice.

But let's get real. Gill was a great hire for the Kansas program, which had never been marked by much consistent success. The Jayhawks had been unable to make back-to-back bowl trips before Mangino took them to bowls in 2007 and 2008.

And for all of the talk about Houston Nutt and Jim Harbaugh, Gill likely will end up being the best choice. He's built a program from the depths at Buffalo. He has a background in the Big 12 from his playing and coaching career at Nebraska. And he knows his way around the recruiting circles in Texas, which will likely make or break his program.

Gill was a strong choice by Perkins for the vacant position. I can't believe some fans are already knocking it, even before he gets a chance to prove his coaching abilities.

Big 12 lunch links: Is Suh the greatest Blackshirt?

December, 11, 2009
Good Friday afternoon.

Here are some Big 12 links to get you through your lunch hour.

Sooners may catch break in Sun Bowl with Luck's finger surgery

December, 7, 2009
Stanford freshman quarterback Andrew Luck could miss the Cardinal's upcoming Sun Bowl game against Oklahoma after undergoing surgery on a finger on his throwing hand.

Luck injured the finger in the Cardinal's victory over Notre Dame and will miss several weeks of practice.

"He's going to be out of practice at least two to three weeks," Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh told my colleague Ted Miller earlier today. "He's not ruled out of the game, but based on what we know right now, he won't start."

If he can't go in the bowl game, he would be replaced by Tavita Pritchard, who has started 19 games in his career, including Stanford's wild comeback victory over USC in 2007.

But Luck's injury has huge ramifications for the Sooners, who have struggled to three straight bowl losses and know all about injuries in bowl games and during the regular season.

The Sooners played without DeMarco Murray in their BCS title game loss to Florida last season. And returning Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford has missed most of the season and Jermaine Gresham all of it with injuries, among others for the Sooners this season.

Oklahoma's Bob Stoops knows exactly how Harbaugh feels after his longest season as a head coach this year.

Briscoe's departure strips Jayhawks of top playmaker

December, 4, 2009
There wasn't much surprise that Kansas wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe decided to declare for the NFL draft.

But it was a little surprising that the decision came so quickly on the heels of Mark Mangino's resignation.

Briscoe learned a lot of lessons from his old coach -- most notably the importance of going to class after his suspension this spring.

His departure will make whomever is hired at Kansas' rebuilding job a little bit tougher.

Mack Brown's first big recruiting victory after he took over at Texas was convincing Ricky Williams to remain for his senior season. It helped jump-start his turnaround and helped push the Longhorns into the Cotton Bowl in his first season.

Briscoe's return wouldn't have been that big. But it still would have made things easier for Jim Harbaugh, Turner Gill, Larry Fedora, Nolan Cromwell or whoever is hired by Lew Perkins.

Big 12 lunch links: Mangino falls on the sword and Leach gets one

December, 4, 2009
Some coaches get gifts from appreciative fans for their accomplishments.

Others get hefty cash settlements on their way out.

We've got all that and more across the Big 12 this morning -- and a pretty big football game tomorrow night.

Check them all out in this delicious collection of lunchtime links.
  • Kansas City Star’s Jason Whitlock writes that Mark Mangino was as much of an anchor for the Kansas football program as he was a springboard.
  • Texas Tech coach Mike Leach received a commemorative 30-inch stainless steel pirate sword from Tech boosters after setting the school record for all-time coaching victories, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams writes. There's a great picture that goes with the story, too.
  • The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla explains why Ndamukong Suh deserves the Heisman Trophy.
  • Remember the good ol' days when Nebraska was churning out big-time offensive linemen? The Lincoln Journal-Star's Steve Sipple writes that no Nebraska offensive lineman has made the All-Big 12 team selected by coaches since Toniu Fonoti in 2001. The Cornhuskers had at least one all-league lineman every year from 1970 to 2001.
  • The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Gil Lebreton writes that Nebraska can repay an old debt to TCU by upsetting Texas on Saturday in the Big 12 championship game.
  • The Lawrence Journal-World’s Tom Keegan writes about his encounter with Mark Mangino's dog Thursday night and opines that Jim Harbaugh and Kevin Sumlin stand above the other potential candidates for the vacant Kansas coaching position.
  • The Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jimmy Burch profiles Texas redshirt freshman Tre’ Newton, who has been collecting a fair share of nicknames this season.
  • Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News/Houston Chronicle describes the contributions provided to Texas’ special teams by wide receivers Marquise Goodwin and Malcolm Williams.
  • The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel analyzes whether Oklahoma will be playing in the Alamo or the Sun Bowl and why he thinks that college football should challenge the NFL’s stranglehold on Thanksgiving morning.
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz describes why falling to the Texas Bowl wouldn't necessarily be all bad for Missouri.
  • The Bryan Eagle’s Robert Cessna expects Jerrod Johnson to return next year and answers a reader’s plaintive claim that Mike Sherman should be fired as Texas A&M’s coach.